The spectacular Scotchman Peaks Roadless Area encompasses 88,000 acres of diverse and unique public lands in northern Idaho and northwestern Montana. Known for its thriving mountain goat population, the area is also a refuge for rare fish and wildlife species such as bull trout and grizzly bear. Visitors to the area are awed by massive old growth cedar trees, stunning alpine vistas, and beautiful views of Lake Pend Oreille.
Where Is the Recommended Wilderness?
The land management plans for the Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle National Forests recommend that Congress designate approximately 61,800 acres of the Scotchman Peaks as wilderness. Of this, approximately 13,900 acres are within the state of Idaho, and 47,900 acres are located within the state of Montana.
What’s Happening with the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness Act?
Our campaign to protect the Scotchman Peaks as wilderness experienced a setback in May.
During the primary election, this issue was put to an advisory vote in Bonner County. Forty-six percent of primary voters there favored the 14,000-acre wilderness proposal, with 54% opposing it. After the vote, Sen. Jim Risch, who had first introduced the Scotchman Peaks wilderness bill in 2016, said that he would not reintroduce legislation.
Regardless of the outcome, ICL thanks our campaign partners, Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness and Conservation Voters for Idaho. We also thank the many organizations and businesses that endorsed the proposal, our hardworking volunteers, and Bonner County voters who showed their support at the ballot box.
The silver lining is that more than 4,800 voters in Bonner County favor a wilderness proposal for Scotchman Peaks. This number cannot be ignored. We are not giving up or going away; we are determined to protect Scotchman Peaks for now and the future. Stay tuned for our next steps.